I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13 (NRSV)
As free as I am in Christ, I still have a need of praise from others. Maturity in faith and life have allowed me to let go of this in many areas of my life, but I still want need to know that others value me. Often, the Holy Spirit does a good work in me by making me aware of this need. I make many breath confessions. (You know, sort of like a breath prayer but it’s a confession rather than adoration or intercession: “Lord, forgive my pride.”)
Ironically, it seems that the areas of my life where I am most confident are often the areas that I also seek praise or positive feedback. It’s as if I cannot trust my own abilities and gifting. It’s as if I cannot trust God to do a good work in me. And that it is good enough because I do it faithfully.
Confidence teeters on the edge of pride and humility. Too much confidence can result in pride. And when I receive praise, it can push me towards pride rather than thanksgiving to the God who provides. This is the risk of being good at what we do. The risk of being what we do define who we are.Confidence teeters on the edge of pride and humility. Praise can push me towards pride rather than thanksgiving to the God who provides. #FMF Click To Tweet
I have a fear of public speaking. It is well managed but still shakes me from time to time. The first time I preached in my home church, my hands and knees were still shaking when I preached. I had to keep my hands on the pulpit lest the congregation see them shake. I remember being in the bathroom before the service asking God for peace – or at least enough peace to not shake so noticeably. I also prayed to receive feedback – not for my own gratification but as confirmation to the call I was discerning. I prayed for humility even as I prayed for confidence.
I believe Jesus calls us to be confident, especially in the work we do in his name. But that confidence is not found in our ability or even the gifts we have received from the Spirit. Confidence is found in the trust and hope we have in the one who is calling us and the Word we are proclaiming. It is the certainty that we are loved and held even when our circumstances suggest we are alone or abandoned – or a failure. This confidence will lead us to humility rather than pride because are aware of our own limitations.
My life verse is found in Philippians. Not the one I opened this post with, but one that comes earlier as Paul talks about all the reasons he has to be confident only to find they are nothing in light of his relationship with Jesus.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Philippians 3:12 (NRSV)
May the confidence of who we belong to be enough to give us confidence to live into the call God has placed on our lives. May we receive confirmation of our work in Jesus’ name so that we may be encouraged to do what is difficult. And may the praise of people lead us to humility and thanksgiving of the miracles God does in our lives every day.I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12 #grace #thankyouJesus #discipleship #faith Click To Tweet
It’s Friday! That means a word prompt a five-minute free write. You can read more great posts on “confident” here.